Rorke's Drift, situated 46 km South East of Dundee; on the Battlefields Route. Is the site of one of the most famous battles of the Anglo-Zulu War!
In 1847, an Irishman named; Jim Rorke, bought some Land alongside a Fjord, in the Buffalo River. This was the boundary between what Britain controlled the Natal Province and the Zulu Kingdom- (a State which was founded by King Shaka Zulu). Just up from the Fjord, Rorke built a typical frontier home, comprising of two long single-storey stone Buildings with thatched roofs. These original Buildings at Rorke’s Drift were destroyed after the Anglo Zulu War. A Museum stands there today, modest though it is. Fascinating artifacts are presented, which record of the events of the War where; 140 British 'Redcoats' fought off an attack from about 4,000 Zulu warriors!
From here, he hunted and traded with the locals, both the white settlers and native Zulus. He became a popular figure. colonists would buy from his stores or take a drink in his simple café. With the Zulus he would trade blankets, beads, gin, and the occasional illegal rifle, usually bartering them, for cattle. To the Zulus. His trading centre became; 'kwaJim'- (Jim’s Place) but to the settlers, it was known simply as Rorke’s Drift.
Jim Rorke died in the mid-1870s; Otto de Witt, a Swedish missionary acquired the property in what was now becoming a tense border Region. It was from the adjacent fjord that British forces, under Lord Chelmsford, launched their invasion of Zululand on 11 January 1879.
The Trading Post became a temporary Field Hospital and was itself the site of a battle on the late afternoon and evening of 22 January. A few hours earlier, Zulu warriors had massacred 1,400 British and native troops, at nearby Isandlwana.